MG is an air warrior with a distinguished career and now a corporate advisor, writer, and intrepid traveler and novelist
Let's get cracking on something thats going to excite a lot readers who are fond of reading about the military and soldiery. Here is a small writeup on the Indian army, a pivotal force that sustained the British empire for 2 centuries. The Indian army during the days of the Raj was known as the British Indian Army and traces its heritage to the East India constabulary of the 18th century.
In this article we shall study how the Indian army has evolved to the 21st century. This is not a paean to the Indian army but a critical appraisal of the modern Indian army after the British divided the sub-continent on the basis of religion. This was in 1947. and the state of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan was carved out of the existing Indian domain.
In 1947 India was one country and had one army and this was known as the British Indian army. The commanders were generally British officers and the C-in C was always an Englishman. From the early 20th century on a recommendation of the Viceroy's council a few Indians were commissioned as officers. They were all classified as Indians and it was immaterial whether they were from modern Pakistani or from any other place in India.
In 1947 and during the earlier period of the Raj about 40 percent of the Indian army was of Muslim origin. During the period from 1939-45 out of 2.5 million men that fought in the Second World War almost 800 000 professed the Islamic faith.
In 1947, the division of India took place and a committee headed by the C- in- C, British Indian Army at that time Field Marshal Sir Claude Auchinleck ( 1884-1980) oversaw the bifurcation of the British Indian army.
The result was that all the Muslim regiments were allotted to Pakistan and no Muslim regiment remained in the Indian army. India got the balance of the Hindu regiments.
A point that must be borne in mind is that though I have used the Hindu -Muslim nomenclature the British carried out recruitment not on the basis of religion but on the basis of Caste and Clan. Thus there was nothing like a Hindu regiment or a Muslim regiment. There were regiments like the the Punjab regiments, Jat regiment, the Dogra regiment, the Rajput regiment, the Gorkha regiment etc.
However the division was carried out on the basis of religion. All the regiments who professed the Hindu faith came to India and all the Muslim regiments went to Pakistan. No Muslim regiment was left in India. The division was carried out on a communal basis and let's accept the fact that at that time India became actually a Hindu army.
A Hindu Army?
There are many people who wish to deny this fact and claim the Indian army is secular and not a Hindu army. What is secular? India as on date has a army of 1.1 million and I think only about 25 to 26 000 are Muslims This means a a percentage of about 2.5. In case the J& K light infantry which has 50% Muslims is excluded the percentage is even lower.
The army has been doing some window dressing by holding Iftaar parties and building mosques on Cantonment This does not help because you make a mosque and there's no muslim to pray there.
Many veterans justify this as an example of secularism. I have another point. If there was secularism in the army the political and military leadership would have insisted that some muslim regiments be raised in Indian army.There are plenty of Muslims in India . but nobody did it, because nobody wanted to do it and so it has continued. The point which i'm trying to make is that the Indian army is basically a Hindu army now.
Look at Pakistan they say they are a muslim army, yet there are Hindus in the Pakistan army. The other day I read that two Hindus from Sindh have been promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and one of them is a doctor. Recruitment of Hindus/Sikhs in the Pakistan army doesn't change its character which is predominately a Muslim army.
As far as the Indian army is concerned though there are about 2% Muslims yet they don't have any regiment with the muslim war cry Allahu Akbar.
In India in the officer cadre there are no restrictions or any quotas and eight Muslim officers in the last 75 years have reached the rank of major general in the Indian army. There is no discrimination but doesn't mean that Indian army is not a Hindu army. Why feel shy about it? There's no need of any window dressing like holding a Iftaar party etc. In fact I am of the view that the army concentrate on professionalism and forget celebration of religious events of Hindus and Muslims alike.
The facts are that the Indian fighting machine is second only to China and even the USA will be hard put to fight India. The British and American leadership is bending backwards to placate India and Modi as he sits atop a force of 1.5 million is the only counterpoise to China. The need for India, of the USA and UK has never been greater than now. All this does not mean that the Indian army has to prove its "secular" character by holding Iftaar and other religious functions.
© 2022 MG Singh